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Izotope ozone mastering guide (ingles)

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Izotope ozone mastering guide (ingles)

  1. 1. Mastering with Ozone™Tools, tips and techniques© 2001 iZotope, Inc. All rights reserved. iZotope and Ozone are trademarks of iZotope, Inc. in the UnitedStates and/or other countries. Sound Forge and Vegas are registered trademarks of Sonic Foundry, Inc.Cakewalk is a registered trademark and the Cakewalk logo is a trademark of Twelve Tone Systems, Inc.WaveLab is a trademark of Steinberg Media Technologies AG. Other product or company namesmentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 1 of 56
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................4 What’s Wrong With My Song? .................................................................................4 Intended Audience for this Guide ............................................................................5 WHAT IS MASTERING?.............................................................................................6 The “Commercial Sound” .......................................................................................6 Consistency across the CD .....................................................................................6 Preparation for Duplication.....................................................................................6 WHAT IS OZONE? ...................................................................................................7 A System of Mastering Effects ................................................................................7 64-bit Audio Processing .........................................................................................7 Analog Modeling...................................................................................................7 Meters and DSP ...................................................................................................7 UI Efficiency ........................................................................................................8 GETTING SET UP FOR MASTERING.............................................................................9 Software and Sound Card ......................................................................................9 Mastering Effects..................................................................................................9 Monitors ........................................................................................................... 10 Headphones ...................................................................................................... 12 SEVEN SUGGESTIONS WHILE MASTERING ................................................................ 13 EQ...................................................................................................................... 14 What’s the Goal of EQ when Mastering? ................................................................. 14 EQ Principles ..................................................................................................... 14 Using the Ozone Paragraphic Equalizer................................................................... 15 EQ the Midrange ................................................................................................ 17 EQ the Bass ...................................................................................................... 18 EQ the Highs ..................................................................................................... 18 EQ’ing with Visual Feedback ................................................................................. 19 Summary of General EQ Tips: .............................................................................. 21 MASTERING REVERB ............................................................................................. 22 What’s the Goal of Reverb when Mastering?............................................................ 22 Reverb Principles................................................................................................ 22 Using the Ozone Mastering Reverb ........................................................................ 23 General Reverb Tips............................................................................................ 25 MULTIBAND EFFECTS ............................................................................................ 26 Using Multiband Effects in Ozone........................................................................... 26 Setting Multiband Cutoffs..................................................................................... 27 Main Points ....................................................................................................... 27 MULTIBAND HARMONIC EXCITER ............................................................................ 29 Using the Multiband Harmonic Exciter in Ozone ....................................................... 29 MULTIBAND STEREO IMAGING ................................................................................ 32 Using Multiband Stereo Widening in Ozone ............................................................. 33 Phase Meter ...................................................................................................... 33 Vectorscope ...................................................................................................... 34 Multiband Stereo Delay ....................................................................................... 35 General Tips for Multiband Stereo Imaging ............................................................. 35 MULTIBAND DYNAMICS.......................................................................................... 37 Compression Basics ............................................................................................ 37 Seeing What’s Happening .................................................................................... 38 Overall Compression Strategy .............................................................................. 41 Bringing Limiting and Expansion into the Mix........................................................... 42 Limiter ............................................................................................................. 42 Compressor....................................................................................................... 42 Expander .......................................................................................................... 43 Limiter/Compressor/Expander Summary ................................................................ 44 Multiband Dynamics............................................................................................ 44Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 2 of 56
  3. 3. Bass Boost ........................................................................................................ 45 Warmth ............................................................................................................ 46 Vocal Treatment................................................................................................. 46 Noise Reduction ................................................................................................. 47 LOUDNESS MAXIMIZER.......................................................................................... 48 Loudness Maximizer Principle ............................................................................... 48 Using the Ozone Loundess Maximizer..................................................................... 48 General Loudness Maximizer Tips.......................................................................... 50 GENERAL OZONE TOOLS ........................................................................................ 50 History List........................................................................................................ 50 Snapshots......................................................................................................... 51 Setting the Order of the Mastering Modules ............................................................ 52 Shortcut Keys and Mouse Wheel Support................................................................ 54 SUMMARY............................................................................................................ 56Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 3 of 56
  4. 4. INTRODUCTIONYou’ve just finished recording what you think is a pretty good song in your project studio. Theplaying is good, the recording is clean and the mix is decent. So you burn it to a CD andproudly pop it in your CD player. But when you hear it played after a “commercial” CD, yourealize that something is wrong.What’s Wrong With My Song? • It’s not loud enough. It sounds wimpy next to other CDs. Turning it up or mixing down at a higher level doesn’t solve the problem. It sounds louder, but not, well LOUDER. • It sounds dull. Other CDs have some kind of sparkle that cuts through with excitement. You try boosting the EQ at high frequencies, but now your song just sounds harsh and noisy. • The instruments and vocals sound thin. Commercial songs have a fullness that you know comes from some sort of compression. So you patch in a compressor and turn some controls. Now the whole mix sounds squashed. The vocal might sound fuller, but the cymbals have no dynamics. It’s full…and lifeless. • The bass doesn’t have punch. You boost it with some low end EQ, but that just sounds louder and muddier. Not punchier. • You can hear all the instruments in your mix, and they all seem to have their own “place” in the stereo image, but the overall image sounds wrong. Your other CDs have width and image that you just can’t seem to get from panning the individual tracks. • You had reverb on the individual tracks, but it just sounds like a bunch of instruments in a bunch of different spaces. Your other CDs have a sort of cohesive space that brings all the parts together. Not like rooms within a room, but a “sheen” that works across the entire mix.Don’t worry. It’s not that you’re doing anything wrong. There are just some things you stillneed to do to get that “sound”. You just need the right tools and an understanding of how touse them. You won’t become Bob Ludwig1 overnight (or probably ever) but you can makedramatic improvements in your master recordings with a little work and some good masteringsoftware.We put this document together to help others in their quest for better sounding masters. Wedon’t claim to be mastering masters. If we could master the next Christina Aguilera hitwould we be writing code and manuals or sitting in a mastering studio with ChristinaAguilera?What we can give you is professional quality mastering software (iZotope Ozone™)and guidance on how to use it. But in the end there are no right answers, no wronganswers, and no rules. At least if there are, we still haven’t found them. So in theend just experiment and have fun.1 http://www.gatewaymastering.com/ Bob Ludwig has won the TEC award for mastering every year he’sbeen eligible. That pretty much sums it up.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 4 of 56
  5. 5. Intended Audience for this Guide • If you don’t understand mastering but do have Ozone, you’re in luck. Ozone gives you the tool to get “that sound” and this guide shows you how to do it. • If you have Ozone and know the basics of mastering, this guide will still show you tricks or techniques that are possible in Ozone. Just say “yeah, I already knew that” when appropriate for the other parts. • If you don’t know anything about mastering and don’t have Ozone, we still hope this guide will help you. Sure, we think you should use Ozone. But we learned a lot about mastering from “the online audio community” and we want to give something back in return (in addition to iZotope Vinyl2). This guide can be freely copied or distributed for noncommercial purposes for that reason.2 http://www.izotope.com/products/vinyl/vinyldx.html Analog modeling plug-in for lo-fi destruction. Thatpretty much sums that up.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 5 of 56
  6. 6. WHAT IS MASTERING?Although there are many definitions of what “mastering” is, for the purpose of this guide werefer to “mastering” as the process of taking a mix and preparing it for manufacturing. Ingeneral, this involves the following steps and goals.The “Commercial Sound”The goal of this step is to take a good mix (usually in the form of a stereo file) and put thefinal touches on it. This can involve adjusting levels and in general “sweetening” the mix.Think of it as the final coat of polish, or the difference between a good sounding mix and aprofessional sounding master. This process can involve adding broad equalization, multibandcompression, harmonic excitation, loudness maximization, etc. This process is often actuallyreferred to as “pre-mastering” but we’re going to refer to it as mastering for simplicity. Ozonewas created to specifically address this step of the process: to put that final professional or“commercial” sound on a project that’s been mixed down to a stereo file.Consistency across the CDConsideration has to be made for how the individual tracks of a CD work together when playedone after another. Is there a consistent sound? Are the levels matched? Does the CD have acommon “character”? This process is generally the same as the previous step, with theadditional consideration of how individual tracks sound in sequence. This doesn’t mean thatyou can make one preset in Ozone and just use it on all the tracks so that they all have aconsistent sound. Instead, the goal is to minimize the differences between tracks, which willmost likely mean different settings for different tracks.Preparation for DuplicationThe final step usually involves preparing the song or sequence of songs for manufacturing andduplication. This step varies depending on the on the intended delivery format. In the case ofa CD it can mean converting to 16 bit/44.1 kHz audio through resampling and dithering, andsetting track indexes, track gaps, PQ codes, and other CD specific markings. Ozone is notdesigned to address these functions by itself, but instead meant to work within dedicatedapplications such as Steinberg’s Wavelab, Sonic Foundry’s Sound Forge, Syntrillium’s Cool EditPro and others.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 6 of 56
  7. 7. WHAT IS OZONE?A System of Mastering EffectsTechnically, Ozone is a DirectX plug-in, although it really encompasses several modules toprovide a complete system for mastering (or technically “pre-mastering” as it addresses theprocessing but not the CD layout, file conversion, etc.) In addition to providing audioprocessing, it provides meters, tools for taking snapshots of mixes, comparing settings, andrearranging the order of the mastering modules within the system.64-bit Audio ProcessingWhen processing audio, Ozone can perform hundreds of calculations on a single sample ofaudio. In a digital system, each of these calculations has a finite accuracy, limited by thenumber of bits used in the calculation. To avoid rounding errors from interfering with theaudible portion of the audio, Ozone performs each calculation using 64-bits. Can you hear 64bits? No. But that’s the point. The rounding errors (inherent not just in Ozone but in anydigital system) are pushed down into the inaudible range with Ozone.Analog ModelingOzone is the result of extensive research in analog modeling, i.e. creating digital processingalgorithms that mimic the character of analog equipment. While it’s technically impossible tomodel analog equipment exactly with digital 1s and 0s, Ozone provides compression,equalization, and harmonic excitation that recreates the behavior exhibited by analogequipment.So what is this “character” of analog? There have been volumes written on this topic, andwe’re not sure if anyone really can explain it completely. But in the most general sense,analog processing has certain nonlinear aspects that a mathematician would consider "wrong"but many people believe sounds better musically. Any analog equalizer, for example, applies asmall phase delay to the sound. It’s very easy to design a digital equalizer that doesn’t havethis delay. More exact? Sure. Better sounding? Not really. It gets even more complex withcompressors and saturation. In the end, these analog properties combine to give musicwarmth, bass, sparkle, depth and just an overall pleasing sound. Ozone is designed to mimicthese characteristics of analog equalization, compression, and harmonic excitement.Meters and DSPSome mastering engineers don’t need meters. They only need to listen. They can hear asound and know its frequency, or hear a level and know when it’s compressing. For the rest ofus, though, each module within Ozone combines audio processing controls with visualfeedback through appropriate meters. When equalizing, you can see a spectrum. Whencompressing, you can see a histogram of levels. When widening, you can see phase meters.There is no substitute for using your ears, but think of it like driving a car. When you first startdriving, you spend a lot of time looking at the speedometer. Over time, you develop aninstinct and need the meters less. But from time to time, we’ve all looked down and thought“hmmm, I had no idea I was driving that fast”. Whether using Ozone or not, whether you’rejust starting with mastering or have been doing it for years, you can always benefit from thesecond opinion that a good set of visual displays can provide.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 7 of 56
  8. 8. UI EfficiencyA mastering session can be long and tiring. The last thing you need to be stressed about ishow to turn a knob with a mouse. There are no knobs in Ozone. It’s pure software, notsoftware stuck in some hardware paradigm of yesteryear3. Instead of spending time thinkingabout how to make Ozone look like a 1960s compressor, we spent countless hours using itand refining it to make it as usable as possible. It’s flat and simple with support for keyboardshortcuts and wheel mice.3 We’re not religiously against the hardware look. iZotope Vinyl has knobs and screws and brushed steel.In a simple plug-in that can be fun, but Ozone had far too much depth to continue that “hardware”paradigm.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 8 of 56
  9. 9. GETTING SET UP FOR MASTERINGSoftware and Sound CardTo master on a PC you need some type of editing software and a sound card. There are plentyof reviews and articles on software and sound cards, so we defer to other sources for you tomake your choice.One important point is that when mastering you’re really just focused on improving a mixed-down stereo file. Applications such as Wavelab, Sound Forge, and Cool Edit are designedspecifically for working with stereo files. However, you can bring a stereo file into a multitrackprogram (i.e. SONAR, SAW, Samplitude, Vegas, Cubase, Nuendo, Logic, etc.) as a singlestereo track and master it that way. We caution you against doing mixing and mastering inone step, though. That is, trying to master while also mixing the multitrack project. While youcould put Ozone as a master effect on a multitrack project, the first practical problem is thatthis requires more CPU than necessary as the software is both trying to mix your tracks aswell as run Ozone (which does require more CPU than a typical plug-in). The second problemis that you’re tempted to try to mix, master, arrange, and maybe even rerecord in the samesession. When we’re working we like the separation of recording/mixing and mastering. Youfocus on the overall sound of the mix and improving that instead of thinking “I wonder howthat synth part would sound with a different patch?” Get the mix you want, mix down to astereo file, and then master as a separate last step4Mastering EffectsWhen mastering, you’re typically working with a limited set of specific effects. • Compressors, limiters, and expanders are used to adjust the dynamics of a mix. For adjusting the dynamics of specific frequencies or instruments (such as adding punch to bass or warmth to vocals) a multiband dynamic effect is required, as opposed to a single band compressor that applies to the entire range of frequencies in the mix. • Equalizers are used to shape the tonal balance. • Reverb can add an overall sheen to the mix, in addition to the reverb that may have been applied to individual tracks. • Stereo Imaging effects can adjust the perceived width and image of the sound field. • Harmonic Exciters can add a presence or “sparkle” to the mix. • Loudness Maximizers can increase the loudness of the mix while simultaneously limiting the peaks to prevent clipping. • Noise reduction effects can optionally be used to remove background noise, electrical hum, etc.We don’t think there’s any single “correct” order for effects when mastering. In Ozone, thedefault order of the mastering modules (the path the signal follows through Ozone) is: 1) Paragraphic Equalizer 2) Mastering Reverb 3) Multiband Dynamics4 Like everything in this guide, this is just our suggestion based on the way we work (when we’re workingon music and not coding DSP). Work the way you work best.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 9 of 56
  10. 10. 4) Multiband Harmonic Exciter 5) Multiband Stereo Imaging 6) Loudness MaximizerThis order can be changed. In fact, you should experiment with different orders. The onlyexception in all cases that we can imagine is that if you’re using the Loudness Maximizer itshould be placed last in the chain.To change the order in Ozone, click the “Graph” button. This brings up a display of the modules. You can reorder the modules by simply dragging them around. If you want to bypass a module, just select it and click Bypass. For convenience, the multiband modules are represented by one block. You can zoom in on this block to change the order of the multiband dynamics, stereo imaging, and harmonic excitation within this block. Note that the location of the meters in the signal chain can also be changed. This allows you to set whether the spectrum is based on the signal going into or coming out of the EQ, for example.Note: While it is possible to reorder the modules while audio is playing, keep in mind that adifferent signal order can create completely different sounds and levels, even with the samesettings for each module. Reordering while music is playing through audio is playing couldcause a sharp jump in output level. Stop the audio from playing, reorder the modules, hit OK,and start the music playing again with one hand on the level of your mixer.MonitorsIt’s important that you monitor on decent equipment when mastering. If your playback systemis coloring the sound, you can’t possibly know what’s in the mix and what’s caused by yourplayback system.That doesn’t mean that you can’t get decent results with relatively inexpensive equipment 5The key is knowing the limitations of what you’re monitoring on and learning to adjust for it inyour listening.For studio monitors, the most common problem is lack of bass, specifically below 40 Hz or so.These monitors just don’t have the size or mass to move that much air at that low afrequency. One solution is to complement a pair of studio monitors with a subwoofer. If so,make sure you adjust the subwoofer so that it doesn’t exaggerate the bass.How do you do this? If you have a mic that’s flat down to 20 Hz, here’s a quick and dirty wayto do it.5 We don’t want this to be a hardware guide, but you can check out the forums athttp://www.homerecording.com for discussions on monitors, headphones, and lots of other things. This isforum isn’t run by iZotope, but is just a good place to discuss mixing and mastering.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 10 of 56
  11. 11. 1) Take a song with a good range of frequencies in it. We just randomly chose Vasoline (Stone Temple Pilots)6. As long as there’s a broad spectrum, it doesn’t matter (we did say this was the quick and dirty method) 2) Put Ozone’s spectrum in average mode and loop a section of the song. Save it as a snapshot (click the Snapshot button, click Snapshot button A and you’ll see a frozen blue line) 3) Place the mic in the spot where you would be listening from, and play the loop through the monitor/subwoofer combination. We used Cakewalk SONAR with effects on input enabled, so that we could see the result in real time. 4) Adjust the subwoofer level until the sound picked up by the microphone (the green line) is close to the spectrum of the source (the blue snapshot).It’s not exact and there are several variables here (the inherent frequency response andlocation of the microphone being the most significant) but it can get you close.You’ll never get a perfect listening environment, and you can never predict how the mix onyour listening setup will translate to the systems others will use to play back your song. Withthat in mind, here are some tips we’ve picked up on learning to master on studio monitors: 1) Listen to music that you know well and have listened to on many systems. Spend some time “getting to know” your monitors. Play your favorite CDs through them. You probably know how these CDs sound on a home system, a car radio, etc. and this will help you learn to adjust your listening for your monitors. 2) The bass will typically be under-represented on small studio monitors. 3) Monitors are very focused in terms of their sound field, and the imaging is typically more pronounced than on other systems.6 Not entirely randomly, as we like STP and the CD was nearby. But there’s no scientific reason.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 11 of 56
  12. 12. HeadphonesHeaphones are another option for monitoring. There are entire sites and forums dedicated toheadphones (such as http://headroom.headphone.com) so again we’ll leave our hardwarerecommendations out of it and just advise you to ask around here and on forums.When working with headphones, here are a few things to keep in mind. 1) Bass is sometimes under-represented on headphones, since bass on loudspeakers is often perceived from physical vibrations (what you feel) as well as from the acoustics (what you hear) 2) Imaging on headphones is very different than imaging on speakers. 3) Equalization can be very different on headphones compared to loudspeakers. The listening room, your head and even your outer ear have filtering properties that alter the frequency response of the music. This “natural equalization” is bypassed when you listen on headphones. If you’re interested in learning more about this phenomenon, look into “diffuse field” headphones.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 12 of 56
  13. 13. SEVEN SUGGESTIONS WHILE MASTERINGBefore you jump into a marathon mastering session, here are seven things that are good toremind yourself of periodically. 1) Have someone else master your mixes for you. OK, in most project studios we realize that the same person is often the performer, producer, mixer, and mastering engineer. At least get someone else to listen with you. Or find someone who will master your mixes if you master theirs. You’re too close to your own music. You’ll hear things other listeners won’t hear, and you’ll miss things that everyone else does hear. 2) Take breaks and listen to other CDs in between. Refresh your ears in terms of what other stuff sounds like. OK, the pros just instinctively know what sound they’re working towards, but for the rest of us being reminded from time to time during the process isn’t such a bad idea. 3) Move your listening position. Studio reference monitors are very focused and directional. The sound can change significantly depending on your listening position. Shift around a bit. Stand across the room for a moment. 4) Listen on other speakers and systems. Burn a CD with a few different variations and play it on your home stereo system, or drive around and listen to it in your car. Don’t obsess over the specific differences, but just remind yourself what other systems sound like. 5) Check how it sounds in mono. Check how it sounds with the polarity inverted on one speaker. People will listen to it this way (although maybe not intentionally) and while your master probably won’t sound great this way hopefully it won’t completely fall apart either. Ozone provides a quick check for this by clicking on the Channel Ops button. You can quickly switch to mono, switch left and right speakers, and flip the polarity of speakers. 6) Monitor at normal volumes, but periodically check it at a higher volume. When you listen at low to medium volumes, you tend to hear more midrange (where the ear is most sensitive) and less of the lows and highs. This is related to something called the Fletcher-Munson effect, which involves how different frequencies are heard differently depending on the playback volume. So check from time to time how it sounds at different volume levels. 7) When you think you’re done, go to bed, and listen again the next morning.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 13 of 56
  14. 14. EQA reasonable starting point when mastering is equalization. While most people understandhow equalizers work and what they can do, it’s not always easy to balance a mix with one.What’s the Goal of EQ when Mastering?When we’re trying to get our mixes to sound good, what we’re shooting for is a “tonalbalance”. Any instrument specific equalization has hopefully been done during arranging andmixdown, so we’re just trying to shape the overall sound into something that sounds natural.Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but there are some general techniques you can use toget a decent tonal balance.EQ PrinciplesHere’s a basic review of the principles of equalizers before jumping into the process.There are many different types of equalizers, but they are all meant to boost or cut specificfrequencies or ranges of frequencies. Our focus here is on parametric equalizers, whichprovide the greatest level of control for each band.Parametric EQs are typically made up of several bands. A band of EQ is a single filter. You canuse each band to boost or cut frequencies within the range of the band. By combining bands,you can create a practically infinite number of equalization shapes.The picture below shows the equalizer screen in Ozone, but the principles are the same formost parametric EQs. There are 8 sets of arrows, which represent 8 bands of equalization.One band is selected, and has been dragged down to cut the frequencies in the range of 3753Hz by –3.5 dB.The bright red curve shows the composite or overall effect of all the bands combined. Thedarker red curve shows the effect of the single band that’s selected.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 14 of 56
  15. 15. Each band of parametric equalization typically has three controls:FrequencyThe center frequency dictates where the center of the band is placed.Q and/or BandwidthQ represents the width of the band, or what range of frequencies will be affected by the band.A band with a high Q will affect a narrow band of frequencies, where a band with a low Q willaffect a broad range of frequencies. A Narrow Filter (Q=12 ) A Broad Filter (Q=0.3)Q and bandwidth are related by the formula Q=(filter center frequency)/(filter bandwidth). Soas Q gets higher, the bandwidth of the filter gets narrower.GainThis determines how much each band boosts (turns up) or cuts (turns down) the sound at itscenter frequency.Using the Ozone Paragraphic EqualizerOzone includes a parametric equalizer presented in a graphical way, which is often referred toas a paragraphic equalizer.The paragraphic equalizer has 6 adjustable filter bands that can be used to boost or cutfrequencies. To adjust the gain of a band, you grab the center and move up or down. Toadjust the frequency, you drag left or right. To adjust the Q or width of a band, you can grab the side handles of the band and drag them apart.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 15 of 56
  16. 16. In addition to the 6 peak filters, Ozone has a low and high shelf filter, represented by thehorizontal arrows (as opposed to the vertical arrows for the peak filters).The shelf filters operate similarly to the peak filters, with the difference that they only haveone side or slope. Instead of a “bell” shape, they are used to slope the high and low ends ofthe spectrum.Controls for Adjusting EQ BandsIn addition to basic mouse support, Ozone supports the following controls for adjusting EQbands: 1) You can use the arrow keys to adjust a band up/down or left/right. If you hold down the Shift key when using the arrow keys the adjustment is accelerated. 2) You can adjust the Q of a band by using the wheel of a wheel mouse or the PgUp/PgDn keys. 3) You can select multiple bands by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking multiple bands. The grouped bands are indicated by “compressed arrows”. To adjust them as a group, drag the first band selected and the rest will move with appropriate relative motion (or use arrow keys to move the entire group). This is useful if you have an overall shape that you like but want to raise or lower the gain of the entire curve. 4) If you hold down the Shift key and drag an EQ band, the EQ band will be "locked" in the direction that youre dragging. So if you just want to change the gain without affecting the frequency (or vice versa) just hold the Shift Key while you drag. 5) If you hold down the Alt key and click on the spectrum, you have an audio magnifying glass that lets you hear only the frequencies that are under the mouse cursor, without affecting your actual EQ settings. This is useful for pinpointing the location of a frequency in the mix without messing up your actual EQ bands. Releasing the mouse button returns the sound to the actual EQ. You can set the width of this filter in the Options dialog.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 16 of 56
  17. 17. 6) If youd rather use numbers as opposed to visual EQ bands, clicking on the Show Info button gives you a table view of the EQ band settings. You can enter values for the EQ bands directly in this table, or simply position the mouse over a value and change it by turning the wheel of a wheel mouse. You can also disable bands with this table by clicking on the square box to the left of a band.EQ the MidrangeSo you’re ready to EQ. Now what?Listen and try to identify any problems that you hear. Start with the midrange (vocals, guitar,midrange keyboard, etc.) as this will typically represent the heart and soul of the song. Does itsound too “muddy”? Too nasal? Too harsh? Compare it to another mix, perhaps a commercialCD. Try to describe to yourself what the difference is between the two mixes around themidrange.Too muddy?Try cutting between 100 to 300 Hz (Band 2 in Ozone is set at 180 Hz by default. Try cuttingthe gain a few dB using this band)Too nasal sounding?Try cutting between 250 to 1000 Hz. (Band 3 in Ozone is set by default at 520 Hz for thispurpose)Too harsh sounding?This can be caused by frequencies in the range of 1000 to 3000 Hz. Try cutting this range afew dB. (Band 4 in Ozone is set at 1820 Hz for this purpose)Hopefully, using a band or two in these regions will give you a better sounding midrange.Remember that you can use the Alt-click feature to focus just on specific ranges and highlightwhat you’re hearing. Another common technique is to start by boosting a band to highlight aregion of the spectrum, and then cutting it once you’ve centered on the problem area.You’ll get the most natural sound using wide bands (Q less than 1.0). If you find yourself usingtoo narrow a notch filter, or too much gain, you may be trying to fix something that EQ on astereo mix can’t fix. Go back to the individual tracks and try to isolate the problem that way.Note also that the wider the band, in general the less gain you need to apply.In addition, your ears quickly get used to EQ changes. Youmay find yourself boosting more than necessary to hearthe difference. Use the History window (click on the Historybutton) to go back and audition settings prior to makingchanges. Comparing the difference before and after aseries of subtle EQ changes can help prevent you fromoverdoing boosts or cuts.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 17 of 56
  18. 18. EQ the BassIn comparing your mix to commercial mixes at this stage, you’re probably tempted to boostthe bass using the equalizer. Resist the temptation. Don’t worry, your mix will get that lowend punch, but we’ll do it using a multiband compressor.A reasonable use of EQ in the low end is to shelf filter below 30-40Hz. Purists might find this alarming, as yes, we can hear down to 20Hz and some musical information can be lost. Typically what peopleconsider “bass” though is in the 50-100 Hz region, and the audio inthe 20-40 Hz range can usually be rolled off. The benefit is that youcan remove some low frequency rumble and noise that couldotherwise overload your levels.Keep in mind that for bass, or any EQ change for that matter, every action has an oppositereaction. If you increase one frequency, you can mask another frequency. The flipside of thisis that cutting one frequency can be perceived as a boost to another frequency. Each changethat you make can affect the perception of the overall tonal balance of a whole.Bass guitars and kick drums can span a wide frequency range. Where the “oomph” of the kickdrum can be centered around 100 Hz, the attack is usually found in the 1000-3000 Hz region.Sometimes you can get a sharper sounding “bass” sound by focusing on the higher frequencyattack, as opposed to the 100 Hz region which can cause “mud”.On the other hand, if you want to addthat hip-hop style “ring” to the bass, trya peak at 50-60 Hz as shown to theright.EQ the HighsFinally, take a listen to the higher end frequencies in your mix. - Don’t be surprised if when comparing your mix to commercial CDs yours sounds a little dull or muffled. You could compensate for this with some high frequency EQ, with a low Q (wide bandwidth) band around 12-15 kHz. Alternatively, you could skip the EQ and add some sparkle and shine using a multiband harmonic exciter. - Be careful boosting around 6000-8000 Hz. You can add some “presence” in this area, but you can also bring out an annoying sibilance or “ssss” sound in the vocals. (note: see the section on multiband dynamics for “de-essing” or sibilance control) - Noise reduction is a huge topic in itself, but you can sometimes reduce tape hiss or other noise by cutting high frequencies around 6000 to 10000 Hz. (You can also approach noise reduction using multiband gating, or dedicated noise reduction tools)Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 18 of 56
  19. 19. - A generally pleasing tonal balance is a high frequency spectrum that rolls off gradually. Shown below is a “signature” spectrum that many commercial recordings exhibit. The song used in this case was Little Feat’s “Hate to Lose Your Loving”, but if you have Ozone try analyzing a few CDs with the spectrum in average mode and you’ll probably be amazed at how many follow the same slope. This signature is so common that we built into Ozone the ability to overlay this line on the spectrum. Click on the Snapshots button from the Paragraphic EQ screen and select the “6 dB guide”. The sloped yellow line will appear as a guide for equalizing the high frequencies of your mix.EQ’ing with Visual FeedbackThe key to setting the tonal balance of a mix with an EQ is developing an ear for whatfrequencies correspond to what you’re hearing. The most appropriate visual aid in this case isa spectrum analyzer.The spectrum analyzer from Ozone is shown below, although others provide similar views andoptions. The green line represents the spectrum or FFT, calculated in real time, ranging from20 Hz to 20 kHz, the range of human hearing.Peaks along the spectrum represent dominant frequencies. In the case of the song above, youcan see a dip in frequencies between 20 and 160 Hz, which could be compensated by usinglow frequency EQ or bass compression.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 19 of 56
  20. 20. Converting audio into a spectrum representation involves several internal calculations. Themost typical options regarding these calculations are:Peak hold: Allows you to show and hold the peaks in the spectrum. (note that in Ozone youcan reset the peak hold at any time by clicking on the spectrum).Average or real time: If you’re concerned with peaks or short frequencies you can run thespectrum real time mode. For comparing mixes and visualizing the overall tonal balance,select Average mode. Instead of overwriting the display of old samples with new samples,Average mode averages new samples into the prior samples to provide a running average ofthe tonal balance. You can reset the average at any time by clicking on the spectrum.FFT Size: Without getting into the math, the higher the FFT size, the greater frequencyresolution. An FFT size of 4096 is usually a good choice, although you can go higher if youwant better resolution, especially for focusing in on lower frequencies.Overlap and Window: These are more advanced options that determine how the window ofaudio is selected and transformed into a frequency representation. In general an Overlap of50% and a Hamming window will give good results.Note that in Ozone you can turn off the spectrum display from the Options dialog to conserveCPU or to minimize visual distraction.SnapshotsA powerful tool for comparing the tonal balance of your mix to other songs is by usingspectrum snapshots. This is done by clicking on the Snapshots button.You have access to four Snapshots, marked with the buttons labeled A through D. Clicking ona button takes a snapshot of the spectrum at that instant in time. You can show individualsnapshots by clicking the “Show” checkbox below each Snapshot button.In most cases, you should use Snapshots when the spectrum is in Average Mode. This willallow you to compare overall tonal balance without being distracted by short peaks.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 20 of 56
  21. 21. Summary of General EQ Tips: 1) Try to cut bands instead of boosting them. 2) Cutting or boosting more than 5 dB means you probably have a problem that you can’t fix from the stereo master. Go back to the multitrack mixing step. 3) Use as few bands as possible 4) Use gentle slopes (wide bandwidth, low Q) 5) Shelve below 30 Hz to get rid of low frequency rumble and noise. 6) Try using bass dynamics (i.e. multiband compression) instead of boosting low EQ if you’re trying to add punch to the bass or kick. 7) Try bringing out instruments by boosting the attacks or harmonic frequencies of the instrument instead of just boosting their fundamental “lowest” frequency. If you try to bring out the fundamentals of every instrument your mix will just sound like mud. 8) Try using multiband harmonic excitation instead of boosting high EQ to add sparkle or shine. This, like everything in this guide, is purely subjective. Compare harmonic excitation to the effect of a gentle sloping EQ boost around 12-15 kHz. 9) Use your ears and your eyes. Compare to other mixes using both senses.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 21 of 56
  22. 22. MASTERING REVERBWhat’s the Goal of Reverb when Mastering?If you’ve done a good job with reverb on the individual tracks and as a result have a cohesivesense of space, you probably won’t need to add any additional reverb to the final mix. In somecases, however, a little mastering reverb can add an overall finish to the sound. For example: 1) A recording made “live” in an acoustic space might have troublesome decays or room modes. In this case, a coat of reverb to the final mix can help smooth over any imperfections in the original acoustic space. 2) A short reverb can add fullness to the mix. In this case, you’re not trying to add more perceptible space to the mix, but instead creating a short reverb at a low level that fills in the sound. 3) In some cases, you don’t have a good sense of ambience or cohesive space in the mix. Each track or instrument might have its own space, but they don’t seem to gel together in a common space. Mastering reverb can be used as a “varnish” in this case to blend together the tracks. Yes, this is a type of band-aid for glossing over a mix, but sometimes that’s all you can do.Reverb PrinciplesIn the simplest sense, a reverb simulates the reflections of sound off walls by creating denseechoes or delays of the original signal. Since walls absorb sound over time, the delays orreflections in a reverb decay over time. In addition, as the signal is delayed or reflected overtime, the number of echoes increases (although decreasing in level) and you hear a “wash” ofsound as opposed to individual echoes.There are many types of reverbs, from plates to springs to reverse reverbs to gated reverbs.In the context of mastering, we (iZotope) tend to separate reverbs into two categories: Studioand Acoustic. This isn’t a technical definition, but more of a way of thinking about reverb.Acoustic reverbs7 simulate a realistic acoustic space. For placing individual performers(tracks) in a virtual room, these are excellent choices. You can clearly hear the “earlyreflections” from the original signal echoing off the nearest walls, and decaying into a spacewith later reflections. You also have a clear sense of the “positioning” of the track in the room.Studio reverbs on the other hand are artificial simulations of rooms, and while they may notsound as natural as an acoustic reverb they have been used so much on commercialrecordings that we have come to accept and even expect them. Do they sound like a realroom? No. They are an effect of their own, and they give an overall sheen or “lush” ambienceto a song. You don’t picture the musicians performing in a real acoustic space, but insteadexperience a wash of ambience8. You can overdo it and it can wash your mix right down thedrain, but just a touch can wash away any imperfections in the original mix and give it a nicesheen.7 Such as Cakewalk Audio FX3 or Sonic Foundry Acoustic Mirror8 Think of the reverb in Enya’s Orinoco Flow “Sail Away”Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 22 of 56
  23. 23. Using the Ozone Mastering ReverbOzone provides a “studio-style” reverb that you can apply to your mixes. It’s a 64-bitalgorithm designed to create a thick or lush sound. It was also designed to provide you thecontrols you need, and just the controls you need, for optimizing it for mixes. There are nogate, reverse or other “special effect” reverb controls that might be great for individual tracks,but not for overall mixes. Think of it almost as a “coating” reverb for track reverb.The best way to become familiar with the sound is to load up a song, solo the reverb module(so you only hear the effect of the reverb processing) and solo the reverb signal so you don’teven hear the original direct mix. You only hear the reverb.First of all, turn up the Wet fader. This controls the amount of reverb that is being mixed backinto your mix. Adjust it to a comfortable listening level to go through this section of tutorial,which will probably be much higher than what you would want if you were actually adding thismuch reverb back into your mix.Room SizeIn an “acoustic” sense, this controls the overall size of the room. Since this a studio reverband isn’t trying to sound like a real room, perhaps a more accurate technical definition wouldbe “decay time”. Higher values will give longer reverb times, as it will take longer for thesound to decay. - If you’re trying to “wash over” a mix, you’ll probably want to try values in the range of 0.3 to 0.6 for this fader. As a general tip, if your mix already has reverb on the individual tracks (which it probably does) try to set the room size of length of the reverb slightly longer than the reverb on the original tracks. You can always adjust the level of the mastering reverb with the Wet slider, and a longer decay time on the overall mix will blend things togetherRevision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 23 of 56
  24. 24. better. In general, if we’re going to apply mastering reverb we usually end up with Wet around 5.0 to 15.0 (and Dry at 100.0) - Another interesting effect to play around with is to use a small room size, anywhere from 0.1 to 0.3, and turn up the wet slider a little more to 20 or 30. In some cases this can create a fuller sound by adding a short reverb or doubling to the mix. It can also make some mixes sound terrible. (listen before you send it to the duplicator) You’ll also want to keep the Room Width at 1.0 if you use this effect, as spreading out an extremely short reverb wouldn’t be very natural since you’d be creating a small room with wide walls, which just doesn’t make sense (or sound good)Room WidthThe Ozone mastering reverb is of course a stereo reverb. It doesn’t return the same reverbsignal in the left and right channels, as this would sound unnatural, and not what wouldhappen in a room. Instead, it creates a nice spacious “diffuse” sound by returning slightlydifferent left and right channels of reverb. The Room Width slider lets you control howdifferent the left and right channels will be. In an “acoustic” sense, you perceive this as thewidth of the room, or at least the width of the reverb signal. - In most cases, you’ll want the width to be from 1.0 to 2.0. - As you turn up the width, you’ll tend to perceive more reverb. At higher room widths, try turning down the room size. This might seem counterintuitive, but give it a listen (turn up the width to an extreme of 3.0) and you’ll hear what we mean. The ideal balance is, well, a balance between the two.DampingIn a real room, the sound decays as it bounces off the walls. But not all frequencies decay atthe same rate. A padded cell9 would decay the high frequencies faster than a bathroom.Different rooms and wall materials have different absorption properties, and the Dampingcontrol lets you control the characteristics of the high frequency decay of the signal.Lower damping settings will result in a brighter sounding reverb. Higher values are, well, lessbright.We typically use Ozone with the Damping set from 0.5 to 0.8.High and Low CutoffsYou may have noticed that the mastering reverb has a spectrum with two vertical lines on it.These vertical lines are not the same as the multiband controls found in the multibandmodules, but instead control the rolloff of the reverb signal in this module.You can drag the lines to the left or right to change the bandwidth of the reverberated signalthat is returned and mixed back into your mix. The area between the lines will be the reverbsignal that you hear.Note: As you drag the handles, wait a second to let the filters fully affect the signal. Ozoneuses analog modeled cutoff filters that have a time constant. The downside is that it takes a9 Not that we’ve actually been in a padded cell, but that’s how we imagine it would sound.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 24 of 56
  25. 25. second or two after you move a cutoff to hear the fully processed result. The upside is thatthey sound smooth and “musical”.So where should you put the cutoffs? Well, the mastering reverb in Ozone rolls off with highfrequencies by design, so you don’t necessarily need to roll off the high frequencies yourself.At the same time, rolling off the highs (moving the right line to the left) can take away someof the “tinny-ness” of the reflections, and rolling of the lows (moving the left line to the right)can take away some of the rumble of the reflections.We tend to start with the low cutoff at 100 Hz and the high cutoff at 5 kHz. If we hear“sibilance” (too much “ssss’s” and “shhh’s”) from the singer we move the high cutoff downbelow 2 kHz, as high frequency reverb can accentuate the sibilance in an undesirable way.General Reverb TipsLike any effect, it’s easy to overdo reverb. Hear are some tips for “keeping it real” - Bypass the mastering reverb from time to time to get a reality check on what the dry world sounds like. In most cases, reverb should be “sensed” more than it’s heard, if used at all on a mix. - If you want “more” reverb, keep in mind that you have multiple options. You can increase the wet amount (the level of the reverb mixed into your mix), or you can increase the room size (the length of the reverb) or you can increase the room width. Adjust each of these then use the History window (or A/B/C/D feature) to decide which adjustment was the most effective. - You can reorder where the reverb is applied in the signal chain. By default, it’s before the multiband modules. Try putting it after the multiband module for a slightly different effect. Instead of compressing the reverb, you’ll be adding some reverb to the compressed signal. You might like the sound of a compressed mix, but with some uncompressed “air” on top of it. - Compare to commercial mixes for a reality check. What to compare to depends on the sound you’re shooting for. Something like Steely Dan is pretty dry where something like George Michael or Phil Collins can be very lush. If you’ve got a pop ballad, you’re probably going to be able to get away with a thicker coat of reverb than a hip-hop mix. - If you’re applying a wide reverb (room width up between 2.0 to 3.0) keep an eye on the phase meters, and use the Channel Ops (especially the mono switch) to check to make sure it doesn’t completely fall apart in mono.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 25 of 56
  26. 26. MULTIBAND EFFECTSA standard compressor or stereo widener can be a useful tool for processing your mix. Thepossibilities become even more interesting when you’re working with multiband effects. Withmultiband effects, you can apply processing to individual bands or frequency regions of themix. This means that you can choose to compress just the dynamics of the bass region of amix, or just widen the stereo image of the midrange.Ozone includes three multiband effects: A multiband dynamics processor, a multiband stereoimaging control, and a multiband harmonic exciter. To get the most out of these effects, it’suseful to first take a second to consider the multiband concept and how to setup multibandcutoffs for your mix.Multiband effects have been around for many years in hardware. Engineers realized long agothat they could filter the bass of a mix with an equalizer, route the filtered output of theequalizer through a compressor, and then mix the output of the compressor back into the mix.Software plug-ins eliminate a lot of the wiring complexities of using multiband effects, but stillpresent design challenges of their own. A multiband is essentially splitting your mix intofrequency regions, processing them independently, and then combining them back togetheragain. In order to sound natural, the design must carefully compensate for how the bands aresplit apart and recombined. Ozone has been developed to perform multiband processing withextremely tight phase coherence, which means that you have the power of multibandprocessing while retaining a natural transparent sound.Using Multiband Effects in OzoneBefore diving into the effects themselves, the first step is to listen to your mix and determinewhere to set the band crossover points. Load up a mix and switch to one of the multibandmodules (Multiband Harmonic Exciter, for example)At the top of the screen you can see a spectrum divided into four bands. The vertical linesrepresent the crossover points of the multiband effects. In order to minimize phase artifactsRevision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 26 of 56
  27. 27. and deliver a natural sound, the same crossovers or bands are used in all three multibandmodules. It’s also important to note that the same filter design is used throughout Ozone,which is part of the reason why Ozone as a system can deliver a more natural overall soundthan chaining together individual plug-ins with different filter characteristics.You can adjust the band cutoffs by clicking and dragging them with a mouse. You can also usethe arrow keys after selecting a band cutoff, which is indicated by the horizontal arrowspointing to the band.Setting Multiband CutoffsSo where do you set the bands? In general, you want to try to split your mix so that eachregion captures a prominent section of your mix. For example, the strategy behind the defaultband cutoffs is as follows:Band 1: This band is set from 0 to 120 Hz, to focus on the “meat” of the bass instruments andkick drum.Band 2: Band 2 extends from 120 Hz to 2.00 kHz. This region usually represents thefundamentals of the vocals and most midrange instruments, and can represent the “warmth”region of the mix.Band 3: Band 3 extends from 2.00 kHz to 10 kHz, which usually can contain the cymbals,upper harmonics of instruments, and the sibilance or “sss” sounds from vocals. This is theregion that people usually hear as “treble”.Band 4: Band 4 is the absolute upper frequency range, extending from 10 kHz to 20 kHz. Thisis usually perceived as “air”.Keeping in mind that instruments have harmonics that can extend over several octaves, thegoal is to try to partition your mix into bands. Play your mix, and click on the “M” button oneach of the bands. This mutes the output of that band. Now you can hear exactly whichfrequencies are contained in each band. Try adjusting the band cutoffs by dragging them withthe mouse. (Note that because of the analog design of the filters it will take a half second forthe cutoff filter to adjust to the new cutoff)Main PointsIf you can hear the “parts” of your mix captured in each of the bands you’re in good shape. Ifyou don’t know exactly where to set them, don’t worry. Once you start applying processing toeach of the bands you’ll begin to develop an intuition for where they should be set. The mainideas at this point are simply: - Multiband effects are applied independently on four separate bands - Each band should represent a musical region of your mix (bass, warmth/vocals, air, etc.)Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 27 of 56
  28. 28. - You can adjust the cutoffs of each of these bands - You can mute the output of the bands to hear exactly what is passing through the remaining bands.So let’s just leave it at that for now and have some fun with a little multiband processing.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 28 of 56
  29. 29. MULTIBAND HARMONIC EXCITERLet’s start with a Multiband Harmonic Exciter as our first venture in Ozone multibandprocessing. It’s an easy effect to hear, and is very powerful when used as a multiband effect.Before we get started with the Multiband Harmonic Exciter in Ozone, here’s a little backgroundon the principle of exciters.An exciter is typically used to add a sparkle or presence to a mix. It’s a sound heard on manypop recordings, and was probably used to an extreme on pop in the 80s, but is still commonlyheard today. A beginner might try to get the same “sound” as an exciter with high frequencyEQ boost, but with less than similar results.There are many design strategies used in the exciters commercially available today, fromwaveshaping and distortion to short multiband delays. Distortion in small doses isn’tnecessarily a bad thing. If designed correctly and applied with restraint, distortion can createharmonics that add an excitement or sparkle to the mix.The exciter in Ozone is modeled after the phenomenon of analog tube saturation. When tubessaturate, they exhibit a type of harmonic distortion that is surprisingly musical. This distortioncreates additional harmonics that add presence or sparkle to the mix while still preserving anatural analog characteristic. You can see perhaps why boosting high frequency EQ is notgoing to achieve the same effect. Boosting an EQ simply turns up the existing harmonics,where a harmonic exciter actually creates additional harmonics.It’s also very easy to overdo an exciter. What may sound good at 3.0…might sound even alittle better at 4.0…and once you get used to that you find yourself pushing it up to 5.0 tokeep the “excitement”. Before you get caught up in the excitement (pun intended we guess)and send it off the duplicator, do a little reality check: 1) Compare it to some commercial mixes. OK, in some cases these are overdone as well, but it depends on the genre and sound you’re shooting for. What works for a dance mix probably isn’t going to sound as appropriate on an acoustic jazz number. 2) Live with the “excited” mix for a while. At first listen an exciter is, well, exciting, but over time it can really sound fatiguing or even harsh and annoying.Using the Multiband Harmonic Exciter in OzoneThis is a very easy effect to use. That could also be why it’s often overused.Each of the four bands has a pair of controls. In most cases, you’re going to be using theAmount control. In addition, you’re probably going to be applying excitation to the upper oneor two bands, although there are some cases where tube saturation in small amounts acrossthe entire spectrum (all four bands) can be musically pleasing.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 29 of 56
  30. 30. With your mix playing (of course) adjust the Amt slider in Band 3 upwards. As you move theslider up you’ll hear what starts as sparkle and excitement, but can quickly turn against you asyou go up too far. Take note of the point where it starts sounding “annoying” and then turn itback down to 0.0.Now try moving up the Amt slider for Band 4. Chances are, you’re going to be able to toleratemore harmonic excitation in the higher band relative to Band 3. Use this to your advantagewhen adding excitation: Higher bands can usually bear higher amounts of excitation.In most cases, the Mix slider can be left at 100. This represents the level of the saturatedsignal that’s being mixed back into the original signal (sort of a Dry/Wet mix control for thetube saturation/excitation). In slightly simplified terms, the Amount control determines thenumber of harmonics that are created, while the Mix control determines the level of theseharmonics. Therefore, as you turn up the Amt an appropriate opposite action, depending onthe effect you’re shooting for, could be turning down the Mix.As you work with multiband effects, you can use the checkbox labeled “B” to bypass anymulitband processing applied to that band by Ozone. So in addition to the “Mute” checkbox,the Bypass checkbox is a useful tool for hearing what sections of your mix are being processedthrough each band. Note that this Bypass applies to ALL multiband processing, includingmultiband harmonic excitation, stereo imaging, and dynamics.The Multiband Harmonic Exciter has such as distinct sound and simple controls that you’llquickly learn which settings work for your mix. Before moving on to the next module, though,here are a couple additional tips: 1) In most cases, excitation to the upper bands will give the desired effect. However, since Ozone uses an analog tube saturation model for the harmonic excitation, you can achieve a type of “tube emulation” on the lower bands as well. In this case you’ll want to try a very small amount of equal excitation across all bands. In other words, keep the Amt control low and constant across Bands 1-4. 2) You can get a “dirty” bass effect by applying some excitation to the low band. If you’re simply going for more bass level then use the Multiband Dynamics module, but theRevision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 30 of 56
  31. 31. harmonic exciter can sometimes add the grunge you’re looking for on those bass harmonics. 3) By default, the multiband harmonic exciter is placed after the multiband dynamics. Either module, depending on your mix and how the effect is applied, can bring out noise in your mix. If boosting the excitation in higher bands brings out the noise to objectionable levels, try putting the harmonic exciter before the dynamics module (click on the Graph button to reorder modules) and use expander/gate section to gate the noise (don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense yet. We’ll get to the multiband dynamics module pretty soon).Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 31 of 56
  32. 32. MULTIBAND STEREO IMAGINGThroughout the development of Ozone, we spent countless hours downloading independent(typically “un-mastered”) songs from mp3.com and analyzing them. There are some reallywell mastered material songs there, but there are also a lot of songs that could use a littleOzone. In particular, we found that the stereo imaging was a common problem on theseindependent projects.Granted, stereo imaging is a tough task. It’s difficult to get a cohesive mix that still has asense of space and imaging. Usually the over-application of effects makes it all the moredifficult to “image”. A second problem, when compared to many commercial mixes, is thatthey have some degree of stereo widening or other enhancement applied. Just like you’ll neverget the sound of a multiband harmonic exciter with an EQ, you won’t get that “sound” of astereo widener with panning.It seems like we start each effects section by suggesting that you don’t overuse the effect.Stereo widening is no exception. The modules in Ozone have high quality processing and aredesigned to sound very natural, so it’s easy to overdo it until the natural effect is no longernatural sounding.The multiband stereo imaging module in Ozone actually encompasses two principles in onemodule. The first is stereo widening. This is a very simple effect, which expands the differencebetween the left and right channels by actually subtracting them from each other. Signals thatare present in both channels are decreased. Since a signal that is the same in both channels isperceived as “in the middle” the result is a wider sound. This “channel subtraction” is a simpleeffect to design, but the strength in Ozone is in the multiband separation and summation. Afull bandwidth stereo widener is trivial, where a multiband one (that sounds natural withoutphase or summation artifacts) takes significant effort to implement.If you’re following the principle behind stereo widening, you may already be seeing thepotential misuse of it. As you widen the left and right you lose the middle. In midrangefrequencies this can create a “hollow” sound or a mix with a hole in the middle. In lowerranges, especially if your bass and kick are panned to the middle, you can completely lose thelow end.The solution is a multiband stereo widener that allows you control the amount of wideningapplied to individual frequency regions. And not surprisingly, that’s what you have in Ozone.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 32 of 56
  33. 33. Using Multiband Stereo Widening in OzoneThis module is almost as simple to use as the Multiband Harmonic Exciter.Each band has its own widening control. As you increase the fader, the widening is increasedfor that band. A value of 0 means that no widening is applied to the band. Positive valuesrepresent widening, while negative values represent “negative widening” or summation of thechannels to bring them towards the center.As you widen the channels, keep an eye on the meters to the right. The bar strip is a phasecorrelation meter (or phase meter) and the lower “radar-type” screen is a vectorscope. Bothare used to provide information about the channel separation (or “wideness”) of your mix.Phase MeterThe phase meter indicates the degree of similarity or “correlation” between the left and rightchannels.When the audio in the left and right channels is similar, the meter draws towards the right.The extreme case is when the left and right channels are exactly the same, in which case thecorrelation is +1 and the meter would be positioned all the way to the right.When the left and right channels are uncorrelated, or very different, the meter draws towardsthe left. The extreme case here would be for the left and right to be exactly out of phase, inwhich case the correlation is -1 and the meter would be positioned all the way to the left.As the phase meter updates, it "paints" a history to show the correlation of the left and rightchannels over time. Brighter regions indicate that the phase meter has spent more time inthat area. This provides you with a quick way to visualize the extremes of the phasecorrelation as well as the most common regions.Note that you can reset the region drawn by the “phase needle” by clicking on the meter.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 33 of 56
  34. 34. In general, most recordings have phase correlations in the 0 to +1 region. A brief readouttowards the left side is not necessarily a problem, but could represent a possible monocompatibility issue. You can perform a quick check of mono and phase compatibility by clickingon the Channel Ops box. This provides a menu that allows you to sum the output of Ozone tomono, invert the polarity of left or right channels, and swap left and right channels.As you apply greater multiband stereo widening to your audio, the phase correlation will tendto draw more towards the left side, as the left and right channels will become "wider" or lesssimilar.By default, the phase meters are placed at the end of the signal chain so you are “seeing whatyou hear”. A useful side effect of this is that as you mute bands, the phase meter displays thestereo correlation only for the band(s) that you’re hearing. You therefore have a multibandphase meter that lets you analyze the imaging for individual bands.VectorscopeThe vectorscope also provides a view of the stereo image of the signal.Typically, stereo recordings should be a random pattern that is usually taller than it is wide (asshown in the screenshot above). Vertical patterns mean that left and right channels are similar(approaching mono, which is a vertical line). Horizontal patterns mean the two channels arevery different, which will sound wider but could result in mono compatibility problems.Some vectorscope display options: - You can click on the phase meter to reset the peak hold display. - If you want to turn off the peak hold display you can turn it off in the Options Screen.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 34 of 56
  35. 35. Multiband Stereo DelayWe saved the most interesting part of the stereo imaging module for last. Ozone offers astereo delay control that allows you to offset the delay between the left and right channels. Atfirst glance a delay might not sound that exciting, but a multiband delay can provide somevery interesting stereo imaging effects.Of course you know that to make a sound come from the right you turn up the volume of theright channel. That’s true in the sense that sounds on the right side are louder in the right ear.But there’s another factor. A sound on the right reaches the right ear first. There is a shortdelay before it reaches the left ear. If you delay a channel by a few milliseconds you caneffectively move sections of your mix around the stereo field.To experiment with stereo imaging using delays, slide the delay controls to the left or right. Bydefault they’re grouped, so they all move together by the same amount. You should hear themix adjust to left or right.If you’re mastering a live acoustic recording made with a pair of stereo mics, this can be aneffective tool for adjusting the imaging without upsetting the balance (volume) of the twochannels. If you’re mics were slightly off axis, it’s probably not the difference in volume that’sshifting the original mix to the left or right but the delay between the mics.That’s not the only creative use of the delay, though. Click on the checkbox labeled “Group allband delays” to ungroup the delays. Now you can offset the delay between the left and rightchannels for each band. Sliding a Delay slider to the right delays the right channel whilesliding to the left delays the left channel.If you’re expecting to hear an “echo” you’re not hearing what you expected. These are veryshort delay ranges, from 0 to 30 msec. In this range of time you don’t perceive two distinctsignals delayed in time as much as you hear a shifting of the image.So what can you do with a multiband delay? Try shifting the positioning of the bass using theDelay in Band 1. You can move the perceived position of the low end without panning. Or, tryoffsetting Band 3 to the right, and Band 4 to the left for a widening effect of the upperfrequencies. There are a lot of creative possibilities here. Experiment.General Tips for Multiband Stereo Imaging - You can generally do more widening of higher bands. - You may even want to do “negative widening” of lower bands to pull bass and other instruments to the center. - Monitoring on headphones is going to give you a false impression of the imaging of your mix. You really need to check imaging on speakers. Headphones will always “wider” because none of the right channel is being heard in the left ear or vice versa.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 35 of 56
  36. 36. - Try positioning lower frequencies with multiband delay as opposed to panning. - Even though multiband widening and multiband delay are completely different effects, the settings of one can affect the other. There are no rules here, just be aware that a different widening setting can change the effect of a delay setting. - Keep checking mono compatibility with the Channel Ops menu.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 36 of 56
  37. 37. MULTIBAND DYNAMICSMastering the dynamics of a mix using compressors, limiters, and expanders is probably themost challenging step of the process, but the one that can make the most difference betweena “basement tape” and a commercial sounding mix. Taking the time to master (no punintended) multiband dynamics can be well worth the effort.There are a few things that make mastering dynamics challenging: 1) The effect is subtle, at least if done correctly. It’s not something you clearly hear, like a flanger or vocoder or so forth, but instead something that is “felt” in the mix. 2) A compressor is usually not working on all the time. So most of the time you might be listening for an effect that isn’t kicking in. Level histograms and compression meters such as those provided in Ozone can be invaluable in referencing when the compression is occurring, and by how much. 3) Not all compressors are created equal. While the concept is simple enough (turn down the volume when it crosses a threshold) the design and implementation (and therefore the quality) of compressors varies considerably.Applying a quality compressor correctly, however, can smooth the peaks (and valleys) in yourmix and make it sound fuller, smoother or just plain louder (if that’s the desired goal).Compression BasicsOzone includes a multiband multifunction dynamics processor. Before jumping into themultiple dimensions provided by this, though, let’s start with just the simplest case: A singleband compressor.An analogy often used for describing compressors is that of a mixing engineer with their handon the overall output gain while watching the level meter. When the level exceeds a certainpoint (the Threshold in compressor terms) the engineer starts turning down the level.How much they turn down the level as the output gain exceeds the threshold is called the“ratio”. Higher ratios mean that the engineer (or compressor) turns down the volume controlmore aggressively when the level is above the threshold, to bring the output level back downcloser to the threshold point. With a ratio of 3:1, if the output level exceeds the threshold by 3dB the engineer turns down the output level so the net output is only 1 dB above thethreshold. So the signal will exceed the threshold level, but not by as much as if there wasn’tany compression.An illustration might help, and also introduce the dynamics meters provided in Ozone.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 37 of 56
  38. 38. In the screenshot above, the compressor is set with a Threshold of –25.2 dB, meaning thatwhen the signal exceeds –25.2 dB the compressor will start compressing. The red line pointsto this point on the compression curve.The Ratio is set to 3.0, meaning 3:1. The white curved line points to the segment of thecompression curve affected by the ratio. Everything above the Threshold point is sloped a littleless, specifically with a slope of 3:1.The compression curve therefore gives a visual depiction of the compressor setting. Thehorizontal line or x-axis represents the input signal. The vertical line or y-axis represents theoutput gain. The line or line segments in the graph show what happens to the output level ateach input level. So with our settings above, anything above –25.2 dB will start to becompressed.Note that in Ozone you can zoom in on the compression curve by holding down the Ctrl keyand left clicking (or right clicking to zoom out)So let’s turn up the ratio of the compressor and zoom in so we can see more clearly what’shappening.Now the ratio is 10:1. If the input signal exceeds –25.2 dB by 10 dB, the output will only goup 1 dB. The compression curve is much flatter above 25.2 now, indicating that the output(vertical axis) is not going to go up very much even as the input level (horizontal axis) goesup.Seeing What’s HappeningMost hardware compressors indicate compression with a reading in dB of how much the signalis being turned down by the compressor (i.e. if it shows –3 dB the compressor just turneddown the signal 3 dB). While this is useful to show what just happened, it’s not as helpful inRevision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 38 of 56
  39. 39. terms of understanding what’s happening overall in your mix. Setting the threshold of acompressor involves understanding the history of level in your mix, so you know where thepeaks and valleys are as a whole, not just at any single point in time.Ozone combined a level histogram, or a meter that shows the history of levels, with a real-time compression curve that shows what’s happening at that moment. The level histogramshows you where to set the Threshold, and the compression curve tips you off to when thecompressor is compressing.The level histogram is on the left in the picture above. Think of it as a level meter with amemory. As the level changes, it displays a history of where the level has been by showingwider lines. In the picture above, we can that there is a lot of level around –48 dB, and a lotaround –20 to –32 dB. There is a little bit above the region indicated by the top red circle, andthis is our target for compression.So we set the Threshold at that point. Anything above that point is going to be compressed.Don’t worry about dB’s and numbers, you can just use your eyes (and ears) to set the point.So how do you know when the signal is being compressed? By using the compression curvemeter. In the picture below, the signal has not crossed the threshold point, so no compressionis happening.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 39 of 56
  40. 40. In the picture below, though, the signal has crossed the threshold and is being compressed.Simple enough, right?We promised that you could make your mix louder with compressors. At first glance, acompressor by itself is turning down the level by compressing peaks. But the side benefit isthat you can turn up the signal as a whole without overloading, since the peaks have beenbrought down in level. You do this by turning up the gain control of the compressor, whichsimply adjusts the level of the signal after compression has occurred.As you adjust the gain, the compression curve increases, indicating that the output level (thevertical axis) is now higher.The final two settings related to a simple compressor are the Attack and Release controls. Youcan adjust these by clicking on the “Attack/Release Show” button. This brings up a panel ofattack and release controls.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 40 of 56
  41. 41. Going back to our mixing engineer analogy, these relate to how long the engineer waits (theAttack) to turn down the volume after it exceeds the Threshold, and how long to wait (theRelease time) before turning it back up after it drops back below the Threshold.So where do you set these? Unfortunately, it depends a lot on the sound you are shooting for.Looking at the attack time first, a faster attack will respond more quickly to transients or shortpeaks in the sound. If you want to soften the attack of a drum, you’ll want to set this fast. Butmaybe you want the “pop” to go through, in which case you’d set it slower. As a rule ofthumb, start with the attacks around 10 msec. Bring them down to soften the attacks of theinstruments, or up to let more of the transients through.The other thing to keep in mind regarding attack is that too fast an attack time can causedistortion (especially in low frequency signals) as the compressor tries to adjust the levelquickly. Low frequency signals have long periods (i.e. the length of time it takes to cyclethrough a fundamental tone), so compression that is adjusting the volume during a cycle cansound very unnatural.Turning to the release time, this sets how long it takes for the compressor to “let go” and letthe level return to normal. For a starting point, try 100 msec, although there is no rule here10.What’s important is that you understand the release time concept. Too fast a release time willcause either distortion or a “pumping” sound since the compressor is letting go and letting theoutput signal return to normal too quickly. A slower release time will let the level graduallyreturn to its normal unprocessed value. On the other hand, a slow release time will cause thecompressor to keep compressing even after loud peaks have passed, and the softer levels thatfollow the peaks will be unnecessarily compressed.Overall Compression StrategyHere’s a sequence of steps that you could use to get started using a compressor effectively. 1) Set your ratio. Depending on what you’re trying to compress, here are some starting points to try. - Full mix: Try 1.1 to 2.0 ratios - Bass, kick: Try 3.0 to 5.0. Depending on the sound you’re shooting for, you can even go all the way to 10… - Vocals: Try 2.0 to 3.0. Of course, like everything else in this guide, these are rough suggestions. Your mix, your taste, or your desired effect can radically change where you set these11. 2) Bring down your Threshold until it’s just above the average level of the mix, which you can see using the level histogram. 3) Turn up the gain as you see fit to boost the compressed signal. 4) Experiment with attack and release timings. No good single tip here, but remember that shorter attacks will level off more of the transients but possibly cause distortion. So you could shoot for the lowest attack possible before hearing any artifacts.10 For that matter, nothing in this guide is a rule. We’ll try to give you values to try wherever possible butif there was a single set of correct values there wouldn’t be controls in Ozone. There would just be a big“ON” button.11 The Beatles “Lady Madonna” has a great sound that’s due to some extreme vocal compressionRevision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 41 of 56
  42. 42. (Note that if you’re just trying to push more level into the mix, you should use the LoudnessMaximizer instead)Bringing Limiting and Expansion into the MixIf you understand the compressor basics, this is not too much of an extension of the samecore concept.Ozone provides a compressor, expander/gate, and limiter. This is extremely powerful, as youcan simultaneously compress mid level signals, aggressively limit the upper edge of the mix,and expand (or gate) the low level signals.In the picture above, you can see that instead of having just one point or “knee” for thecompressor, we now have three knees or points where the compression graph changes slope(indicating a different compression ratio).LimiterStarting with the top, there is a limiter. In the simplest sense, this is simply anothercompressor. You can use it to set the compression ratio for the upper level of the mix, whichwill typically have a higher ratio of compression than the middle levels.The controls for the Limiter work exactly the same as the compressor in the previous section.The goal here is to limit off the upper peaks of the mix, which you can do with a highthreshold (maybe just 0 to –5 dB) and a high ratio (5 to 10)CompressorYou know how a compressor works now. The power that comes from a combinationcompressor/limiter/expander is that you can use the compressor to gently compress themiddle or average level of the mix. Since the limiter is taking care of the peaks with a highratio, you can add fullness and body to the mix with a lower ratio on the compressor (1.1 to2.0). Put the threshold for the compressor down at the lower edge of the average level of themix (could be anywhere from –30 to –50 depending on your mix)Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 42 of 56
  43. 43. ExpanderThe Expander section affects the lowest level signals – those signals BELOW its threshold (asopposed to the compressor and limiter which work on signals above their thresholds)There are three main uses of the expander section: 1) Just as you could add more volume by compressing the lower signals, and bringing up the overall gain of the output of the compressor, you can also add more volume (or at least fullness and body) by bringing up just the softest parts of the mix. This is done with the expander. Since you also have a compressor and limiter above the expander section, you could choose to leave the peaks untouched (ratio of 1 for the compressor and limiter) or choose to also soften the peaks while also bringing up the lows (as shown in the picture below). To achieve this “upward compression” set the expander ratio less than 1.0. 2) You can use an expander as a noise gate, where any signals that are below the Threshold are effectively turned down completely. Back to our engineer analogy, the expander tells the engineer “when the level is BELOW the Threshold, turn it DOWN as indicated by the Ratio. As a gate, use a high Ratio (8 to 10 or so) and set the Threshold down at the point of the noise floor. 3) If necessary, you can use the expander as an “uncompressor” to expand an overly compressed signal. Of course, it’s better not too over compress to begin with, butRevision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 43 of 56
  44. 44. sometimes you have a mix that has already been destructively compressed. As an “uncompressor”, try Thresholds around –20 to –30 to start and a ratio of 1.1 to 2.0 (with higher ratios providing more “uncompression”)Limiter/Compressor/Expander SummaryIn summary, using a combination Limiter/Compressor/Expander is great for completelycontrolling all of the dynamics in your mix. It’s just a simple extension of the basic compressorconcept, but the combination lets you gate or expand the lowest level signals, add body to themid level signals, and control or limit the highest peaks.Multiband DynamicsA single band compressor (or combination limiter/compressor/expander) applies dynamicsprocessing to the entire mix, i.e. the entire range of frequencies. Things get even moreinteresting when you consider the possibilities of applying dynamics processing separately toindividual bands or ranges of frequencies. Assuming you read through the section on generalmultiband processing, we’ll just quickly repeat the two main multiband operations in Ozone. 1) The mix is divided into four frequency bands. You can set the cutoffs of these bands using the vertical lines or handles on the spectrum in the multiband modules.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 44 of 56
  45. 45. 2) You can click on a checkbox in a band to Mute (M) the output of that band or Bypass (B) Ozone processing for that band.When using Multiband Dynamics, clicking on a band displays a set of dynamics controls thatare specific to that band.So now you have control over multiband dynamics processing. Click on a band, and you canset the limiter/compressor/expander differently for each band.If you’ve followed the previous sections, what might have seemed like a lot of controls beforeis now just a set of controls for each of four bands. You have four bands of frequencies (low,low-mid, mid-high, and high) and a limiter/compressor/expander for each band.Applying a multiband compressor follows the same concepts as a single band or full rangecompressor. The difference is that you can apply compression to specific bands. So what canyou do with this?Bass BoostA multiband compressor is the key to get more bass out of a mix (as opposed to trying toboost the gain of the low end with an EQ). In addition to just getting “more bass”, a multibandcompressor can simply even out the dynamics of a kick or bass to give a more professionalconsistent sound.For this application, you can think of a mulitband compressor as an EQ that understandsdynamics. With a ratio of 1 for the expander/compressor/limiter, you can just turn the gain ofa band up and down and it behaves like an EQ. As you add compression (adjusting ratios andthresholds) it will still boost (or cut) the gain of the band, but only when the level exceedscertain ranges.For bass boost, you’re obviously going to be focused on the lowest band, Band 1. A cutoff of125 Hz or so will contain most of the “meat” of the bass, kick, etc., although the attack andharmonics of these instruments will be found in upper bands.For general bass compression, you could start with a ratio of 4 on the compressor but feel freeto try extremes. Bring down the Threshold and bring up the Gain until you’ve got the punchthat you want.Revision 1.01 http://www.izotope.com Page 45 of 56

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